Movie Talk,  MovieMuse Reviews by Erin

Wonka (2023)

Wonka (2023) – Very sweet movie, pun intended (though that doesn’t make it any less true). We both thought Timothée Chalamet did a fantastic job as a young and somewhat naive Wonka. He really captured the essence of Gene Wilder and his slightly zany take on the candy maker, but without the sarcasm and cynicism that the character would develop later in life. It was a beautiful balancing act, and he did a superb job. Everyone else did a good job with the type of characters/performances they were asked to give. They definitely have that Chris Columbus-style “overacting kids movie” thing going on (no, he did not direct this film, but it’s so typical of his style that I always think of him when I see it done in any movie), and some of the humor was not to my taste, but overall, we really enjoyed the various characters.

The sets – both practical and digital – were exceptionally beautiful and vibrant (or dull and dreary, when necessary) and really captured much of the magic of the original film in that regard. The songs were fine, though not particularly memorable. I thought the performances while singing could have used some improvement (no one was even pretending to actually sing; it came off almost as if they were just talking), but that could also have been a style choice. I do, however, want to give a particular shout out to Joby Talbot, a name I was not familiar with prior to this film. His use of the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory musical themes, particularly the Oompa Loompa flute riff and the three note intro to “Pure Imagination” were perfection! Not only did Talbot expertly weave that music into his own score, he knew exactly how – and more importantly WHEN – to bring them in to enhance a scene. It was… [chef’s kiss] magnifique.

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